The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

April 10, 2017

April 10, 1877

Alfred Kubin (April 10, 1877 to August 20, 1959) is our subject today. Here is an example of his work, one titled "In Den Krallen":

venusmilk:    Alfred Kubin - In den Krallen

I am grateful to the Weimar Art blog for the information below. Information in English is sparse and the text below is quoting this web site. The interspersed examples of Kubin's art appeared also on same site.

Alfred Kubin....was born in Bohemia in the town of Leitmeritz (today Litoměřice, Czech Republic) which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Kubin spent his childhood and student days in Salzburg, where he attended the arts and crafts school. After that he was a photography apprentice for four years in Klagenfurt. In 1896, Kubin attempted suicide on his mother's grave, and a short stint in the Austrian army the following year ended with a nervous breakdown.

"The Lady on the Horse", c. 1900

In 1898, Kubin moved to Munich where he studied at the private academy of the painter Ludwig Schmitt-Reutte, before enrolling at the Munich Art Academy in 1899 (without finishing his studies there). In Munich, Kubin discovered the works of Odilon Redon, Edvard Munch, James Ensor, Henry de Groux and Félicien Rops. He was profoundly affected by the prints of Max Klinger. After seeing an exhibition of Max Klinger’s etchings in Munich Kubin wrote:

"Dream Animal", 1903

"I was suddenly inundated with visions of pictures in black and white - it is impossible to describe what a thousand-fold treasure my imagination poured out before me. Quickly I left the theater, for the music and the mass of lights now disturbed me, and I wandered aimlessly in the dark streets, overcome and literally ravished by a dark power that conjured up before my mind strange creatures, houses, landscapes, grotesque and frightful situations."

"The Hour of Death" 1900

Around the turn of the century Kubin got into an ecstasy of creativity, and created more than hundred sheets of his famous "Frühwerk" (early work). In February 1904 he met Hedwig Gründler, sister of the author Oskar A.H. Schmitz, whom he married the same year. She financed the acquisition of the so-called "Schlössl" in Zwickledt near Wernstein/Inn, where they moved in 1906....

Occasional trips to Bohemia, the Balkans, the south of France, Italy, Prague, Berlin, Munich, Zurich or Paris allowed Kubin to meet with artist colleagues and friends. In 1909 he became a member of the "Neue Künstlervereinigung München", which he left in 1911 together with Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter to join the newly founded Blauer Reiter group. In 1913 he exhibited with his friends Paul Klee and Franz Marc in the gallery Der Sturm in Berlin. Kubin produced a small number of oil paintings between 1902 and 1910, but thereafter his output consisted of pen and ink drawings, watercolors, and lithographs.

"Mythical Animal", 1905

Like Oskar Kokoschka, Kubin had both artistic and literary talent. He illustrated more than 70 books by Edgar Allan Poe, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and others. He was also the author of several books, the best known being his novel Die Andere Seite (The Other Side, 1909), an apocalyptic fantasy set in an oppressive imaginary land which has an atmosphere of claustrophobic absurdity reminiscent of the writings of Franz Kafka.

 "The Government", 1901

After the First World War many solo exhibitions were dedicated to Kubin. In 1930 he became a member of the prestigious Preußische Akademie der Künste in Berlin, and in 1937 he was awarded the title of a professor. After 1933 more than 60 of Kubin's work were confiscated as "degenerate art" and removed from German and Austrian museums. Alfred Kubin died in Zwickledt in 1959. His artistic estate was split between the Albertina Vienna and the Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum Linz. In 1962 his house and the library became the Kubin-Gedenkstätte Zwickledt (Kubin-Memorial Zwickledt). ....

Again, there is more information here. And the pictures are easier to see there.

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